August 01, 2007
Going Vintage: Super 8 Film
In my last blog entry I wrote about how Super 8 film was used in the 50s and 60s at some weddings because it was the only option available.
It has many downfalls- lack of good coloring sometimes, shaky footage, over and under exposed film, no audio, hard to focus, expensive to produce and the list goes on. These very reasons and more are why many brides today WANT some Super 8 footage included with their wedding video. Many of today's cameras produce a pristine image with sound straight from the set of a Warner Brothers movie- amazing technology to document the wedding day. However, they lack a certain nostalgia for days gone by and simpler times that many couples want- if only for a few moments- on their own wedding video.
When I produce a wedding video, a major part of my goal is to evoke appropriate feelings throughout. A nice song or a beautiful shot placed at the right time goes a long way towards achieving this. Due to its unique, nostalgic look, Super 8 evokes feelings of old television documentaries or family home videos, which becomes an immediate and powerful way to tap into emotions.
When I'm shooting with a Super 8 camera, it's much different experience for me as well. There isn't a viewfinder for me to see and check my work, there is no sound to monitor, and each film reel lasts only 3 minutes to name a few. The camera I use doesn't have batteries, instead relying on a hand crank to provide the power. It makes that 'whirring' noise that many are familiar with and associate as another added charm of the Super 8 format. Hearing that noise and seeing the old-fashioned camera probably makes the bride feel like she has gone back in time- connecting in this special moment with the experiences of her own mother or grandmother.
Super 8 is not ideal for all parts of the wedding day, especially much of the reception, as it relies on excellent lighting.
The bridal suite is iffy sometimes, but in the demo below it was a beautiful day and there were plenty of windows letting in light. Outside the church or reception hall is always a safe bet as well for good footage. If the wedding is shot in NYC, a walk through the streets before the reception or a trip to Central Park in between are good ways to make use of natural light as well as to capture a vintage NYC look.
Shooting with Super 8 is definitely something I think is personal preference, which is why I have it as an a la carte option. I don't think it is necessary to have in order to get an amazing wedding video, however if you love that look and have dreamed of your wedding day in Super 8, it's really something that is hard to beat!